Median wage earners in pursuit of the American Dream should probably do what they can to avoid the coasts — unless, of course, they don’t care much about having time for family, friends or really anything besides a punishing work schedule.
That’s because, just to afford the median mortgage in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Miami, a head of a household earning the area’s median pay has to work more than 100 hours. Wages are obviously higher in places like this, but not enough higher to make up for the cost of buying a home.
Cost-estimating website HowMuch.net crunched Census Bureau and Zillow numbers to create this map showing how many hours typical Americans need to work to pay their mortgage in 98 of the biggest cities in the country.
HowMuch.net used a 40-hour week as the standard to calculate an average hourly rate in an effort to level the playing field between salaried and hourly workers. And for the housing costs, it used a 30-year loan to determine the figure.
Here are the top 10 cities and the hours necessary to pay for a home:
1. Los Angeles: 112 hours
2. Miami: 109 hours
3. San Francisco: 107 hours
4. Boston: 95 hours
5. Oakland: 83 hours
6. Long Beach, Calif.: 78 hours
7. San Diego: 77 hours
8. Santa Ana, Calif.: 74 hours
9. San Jose, Calif: 74 hours
10. Irvine, Calif.: 73 hours
Clearly, California is out of whack, as you might expect, but HowMuch.net’s Raul Amoros pointed out that it’s not so bad just about anywhere else.
“The best places tend to be old manufacturing cities like Toledo and Memphis (17 and 18 hours, respectively),” he said. “That’s right — you don’t need to work past lunch on Wednesday to earn enough money to make a mortgage payment in [such locations]. That’s an incredible standard of living.”